The beautiful ornamental foliage of Peperomia is a visual treat to plant lovers. If you are parenting these epiphytic species, you would want their lush green foliage to expand uninterruptedly. The most common problem you will face while caring for your Peperomia is leaf wilting, which might be a reason for many overlapping factors. But why is your peperomia wilting? Let’s find out!
Wilting is when the plant loses its rigidity to remain erect, and the leaves hang lifelessly from the stem.
Wilting of peperomia is caused by diminishing water levels in the plant, which causes a significant drop in Turgor pressure (pressure exerted by the intracellular fluid on the cell wall). Wilting or drooping is a coping mechanism to conserve the moisture content by reducing the surface area.
As you have gained a brief idea about wilting, let’s get into further details about the probable reasons behind this problem and the other factors related to it.
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Potential causes of wilting in peperomia
Different factors can lead to wilting in peperomia plants. Let’s get into the details of these.
We have already mentioned that deficiency of water is the key factor behind wilting. Underwatering is one of the significant causes resulting in this effect among peperomia plants.
Neglecting to water your plant for prolonged periods deprives the species of its hydration needs that are necessary to sustain a healthy life. As your peperomia struggles to cope with the water loss, water is pulled out from the leaves, making them limp and lifeless.
If one or more of these concerns accompany your peperomia’s droopy leaves, the plant is likely to experience underwatering.
- The vibrant green leaves of peperomia become crisp, faded, and curl inward.
- The water causes the soil to expand and fill up extra space, known as soil gap. However, dried-out soil mix will peel away from the pot’s wall.
- Underwatered soil will become loose and flaky.
Before getting to the solution, try an obvious test to determine the soil condition by grasping the soil mix in your hand. If it feels light, brittle, and dry, you must hurry and take proper measures.
- The easiest way to revive your underwatered peperomia is by increasing the watering frequency. Water it a little bit once a day for a week. Follow a proper routine once you notice a positive change.
- For an effective watering process, start with misting the soil and slowly apply ½ – 1 glass of water. This process is known as the Capillary method, which allows a uniform water distribution into the soil mix.
- You can also install a moisture meter to check the exact water needs of your plant.
- Self-watering-pot can be a worthwhile investment if you have a tight schedule and cannot maintain a proper watering routine by yourself.
- If your plant is suffering from extreme dryness, you can allow it to soak in a bucket of water for 10 minutes. After that, please take out the plant and allow it to drain completely.
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Excessive water consumption by your Peperomia can have harsh effects on the plant, resulting in limp, wilting leaves with a mushy appearance.
To identify if overwatering is the potential cause behind your plant’s ill-health, go and check for these signs.
- Moist soil indicates that it is either too wet for your plant or too thick for its root system to absorb water.
- Sections of the roots become dark due to root rot from overwatering. Drooping and yellowing of leaves are both common in this case.
Here are the basic tips that can assist you in solving the problem of wilting plants from overwatering.
- Remove any dead, mushy, or drooping leaves from the plant as these can never regenerate. Discarding these parts will allow your plant to repair itself by releasing energy.
- Inspect the root system if you suspect root rot for your plant’s health diminution. Take out the peperomia carefully from the pot.
- Brush the soil delicately from the roots and if you notice any decaying roots, trim them immediately with sterilized equipment.
- The potting medium must be suitable for the plant to grow properly. Make sure the potting medium is not too damp. This will further create complications. Try to use chunky, loose soil mixed with some gravel to make it porous.
- Check the soil condition by inserting your finger or wooden stick at least 2” deep into the soil before watering. If the inserted object remains dry, only then apply water.
- Winter months do not require much watering for Peperomia. Cut down the frequency of watering to half during this time.
- Getting a moisture meter will help you to have an accurate check of the water requirement.
Also read: How To Save Overwatered Peperomia?
Loss of Turgor Pressure
Turgor is the intracellular water pressure of the plants, which plays a vital role in maintaining the rigidity and strength of the plant. Despite the thin stems, Peperomia plants can carry large foliage due to their high turgor pressure.
Many internal factors like hormones play an essential role in maintaining turgor pressure among plants. Equally, to maintain a healthy pressure inside the cell, some external factors like water play a significant function.
A drop in the water content in the plant’s body will further decrease turgor pressure inside the cell, resulting in droopy, wilted leaves and stems.
- Direct sunlight increases the rate of evaporation. To prevent that, move your plant to a shaded area, away from direct sun rays.
- To revive your plant, increase the amount of water it receives, but simultaneously keep a watchful eye on how your plant responds to more water.
High temperature or extreme cold
Peperomias thrive well in 55-75°F temperature. Extreme hot temperature removes moisture from the leaves and dehydrates them. This results in a significant loss of turgor pressure and drooping leaves. Moreover, the leaves become scorched.
Cold weather causes harm to the plant cells in the leaves. It hampers the rigid structure of the leaves and causes them to crumble and droop. However, temperature issues are easy to rectify.
- Install a proper insulating system if you are staying in a freezing zone.
- Keep your peperomias away from glass windows to protect them from cold drafts.
- You can invest in a heating pad and install it near your plants after grouping them during the cold season.
- Move your peperomia away from the air conditioning vents.
- Misting cools down the plant’s body temperature due to the evaporation of water.
- During the summer months, keep the plant in a well-ventilated room.
- Clean the dust from the leaves as dust particles prevent the plant’s body heat from escaping.
- Keep your plant away from direct rays of the sun.
Low atmospheric humidity is a potential cause of peperomia wilting. Relatively low humidity means air is dry, which increases the transpiration rate among plants, causing them to expel excess water vapor.
This high transpiration rate causes the turgor pressure to drop significantly, resulting in drooping leaves and stems.
Here are some tips to follow for maintaining the humidity level of the plant.
- Misting your peperomia using a spray bottle twice or thrice a week will help the plant. It will increase the surrounding humidity level.
- Try misting your plant during the morning hours, as it will allow moisture to evaporate from the plant throughout the day. Misting during the night can harm the plant as water remains on the plant body for a longer time due to the low evaporation rate.
- Grouping your plants will help in increasing surrounding humidity. As the plants carry on their transpiration process, they exchange moisture between themselves. This method can be applied during the wintertime when atmospheric humidity is relatively low.
- You can also use a pebble tray to provide sufficient moisture to your plants. All you need is to place some stones on a tray and put water on it. Now let your Peperomia rest on the stones throughout the day. Evaporation of water will take place, resulting in a rise in humidity.
- If you are sure about the deficit of humidity at your place, you can go for a humidifier. This device helps maintain a consistent humidity level, providing your plant a soothing environment to thrive.
Peperomia wilting after repotting
Peperomia can continue its growth in a single pot for years. However, plant owners repot their favorite plant every two years to give it a fresh soil mix and sufficient room to thrive.
But if you notice a sudden droop or wilting of your peperomia just after repotting, it can be due to the stress created over the plant or due to some damage in their delicate root system.
- Try to repot your plant in early spring, ahead of their growing season, as any damage that occurred can be mended naturally by the plant during the following growth phase.
- Peperomia generally prefers slightly acidic soil with a pH ranging from 6-6.6. To maintain this pH, you can add peat moss or coffee grounds into the soil.
- The soil mix you choose must be porous, loose, and chunky with some gravel to allow water and air free from water and air, as Peperomias prefer well-drained and aerated soil.
- Water the soil a little before repotting the plant.
- Do not choose a pot way too large in comparison to your plant, as these epiphytes love small pots and a tight soil mix.
Water is one key ingredient of life for every organism and providing the right amount of it to your plant is a way of showing your love to your autotrophic friend. But do you know that pouring ordinary tap water on your plant can cause potential harm to it?
Tap water contains a large amount of inorganic salt, which can alter the natural composition of the soil mix, depriving the plant of its growth factors.
Moreover, sometimes this tap water contains harmful chemicals like fluoride, arsenic, lead, etc., which have the potentiality to build up toxins within your plant and disrupt its average growth. These components can burn the leaves, causing them to droop and even kill helpful bacteria that thrive in the soil.
To keep your Peperomias away from such harmful effects of tap water, try to use distilled or filtered water for your plant.
You can also store rainwater and use that to water your peperomia.
Light, being the key factor in photosynthesis, plays a vital role in plants growth. However, the light absorption capability of plants differs from species to species.
Peperomias are not tolerant to direct sun rays. Keeping them in reach of direct sunlight will cause dehydration by increasing the transpiration rate in high temperatures.
Moreover, high-intensity light can permanently destroy chlorophyll, the photosynthetic pigment of the plant, which is enough reason for the weakening of leaves and their wilting.
- Keep your plant in indirect or diffused light.
- You can also use artificial light sources like fluorescent bulbs.
- Keep your plant away from the windowpane.
- Try to place it in a well-shaded area.
If your plant is not getting enough food, its body parts like stems and leaves will start to wilt due to stunted growth and weakness.
Although Peperomias do not require many nutrients, depriving them of nutrient supplementation for an extended period can cause harm.
- One of the best ways to cope with this issue is by adding the correct amount of fertilizers into the soil mix.
- Use liquid fertilizers in diluted form as it is easy for the plant to absorb liquid components. Moreover, liquid fertilizers are easy to handle and dilute.
- Use well-balanced fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen, potassium, and iron.
Pest infestation is a common issue for peperomia plant wilting.
Pests like mealybugs, spider mites, aphids cause serious harm to the plant by creating seizable holes along the edges of the leaves and taking out vital nutrients.
- You can use neem oil to kill soft-bodied bugs like mealybugs and thrips.
- For bigger pests, you can hand-pick them by picking them with your hands when they are most active.
- Components with a pungent smell like pepper spray and chili spray can also drive away these pests.
Diseases like root rot can have wilting leaves as an asymptomatic issue. It is a common, destructive disease among peperomias caused by overwatering and fungal infections like phytophthora rot.
- Reduce the frequency of watering if you see such a phenomenon. Always remember only to water your peperomia when the top 2” of the soil mix is dry.
- Isolate the affected plant.
- If the disease appears to be in severe condition, take out your plant from the pot and trim the decaying root with sterilized scissors.
- Always use dry loose soil while repotting the plant.
- If more than 50% of the plant is affected, it can not revive. It is better to discard the plant.
The semi-succulent appearance of Peperomia plants with lush green foliage gives them the ability to beautify any corner of your abode. Drooping leaves is one of those phenomena that indicate a rapid decline of your hardy plant’s health.
A common question frequently asked is how to revive wilted peperomia. Well, we have already talked about many of those measures in detail. However, repotting your plant carefully into a pathogen-free, dry soil mix can effectively restore the wilted plant’s life.
Diagnosing the causes of wilting in peperomia is pivotal. Follow the measures accordingly to restore your peperomia’s health and keep its beauty intact.
Also read: 8 Care Tips For Peperomia
Ref: University of Florida, Sage Journal, University of Vermont, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Rutgers, The University of Arkansas, Britannica, Wikipedia, Peperomia Diseases, NC State University.